Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says “a weakness inside of the passport office itself” allowed for a passport to have been issued to someone who, more than five years ago, stole the identity of the young woman who won the MISS SVG pageant in 2016.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday Dr. Gonsalves said an internal investigation had been launched at the Passport Office to determine how someone was able to obtain a passport in the name of Nikianna Williams.

According to media reports, the 22-year-old Williams learnt that her identity was stolen when she applied for a passport a few weeks ago and was told that she must first hand in the expired one to authorities. But Williams said she had never ever before applied for the travel document.

“These things happen in all jurisdictions and an internal investigation has been carried out and the investigation, thus far, has revealed, as far as I have been advised, that there was a weakness inside of the passport office itself. A weakness connected to personnel; somebody who is not there any longer. And I think they are seeking to get the proper answers in relation to that,” Dr. Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister said the review is of the process, rather than a criminal investigation.

Williams’ case was one in which someone who had been deported from Canada was able to return to that North American nation after obtaining a passport in her name.

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